Bees, Butterflies and Wildlife:
Research on Electromagnetic Fields and the Environment
Electromagnetic fields from powerlines, cell phones, cell towers and wireless impacts the birds, bees, wildlife and our environment. Below is just a small example of the critical research that has been done on this issue.
“The electromagnetic radiation standards used by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) continue to be based on thermal heating, a criterion now nearly 30 years out of date and inapplicable today.”
-The Department of Interior in a 2014 letter on the impact of cell towers on migratory birds.
Balmori, Alfonso. “Anthropogenic radiofrequency electromagnetic fields as an emerging threat to wildlife orientation.” Science of The Total Environment, vol. 518–519, 2015, pp. 58–60
- The growth of wireless telecommunication technologies causes increased electrosmog. Radio frequency fields in the MHz range disrupt insect and bird orientation.
- Radio frequency noise interferes with the primary process of magnetoreception. Existing guidelines do not adequately protect wildlife. Further research in this area is urgent.
Cucurachi, C., et al. “A review of the ecological effects of radiofrequency electromagnetic fields (RF-EMF).” Environment International, vol. 51, 2013, pp. 116–40.
- A Review of 113 studies from original peer-reviewed publications. RF-EMF had a significant effect on birds, insects, other vertebrates, other organisms and plants in 70% of the studies. Development and reproduction of birds and insects are the most strongly affected endpoints.
Balmori, A. “Electrosmog and species conservation.” Science of the Total Environment, vol. 496, 2014, pp. 314-6.
- “Conclusion: At the present time, there are reasonable grounds for believing that microwave radiation constitutes an environmental and health hazard….Concerning the exposure to electromagnetic fields, the precautionary principle is needed and should be applied to protect species from environmental non-thermal effects (Zinelis, 2010). Controls must be introduced and technology rendered safe to the environment, since this new ubiquitous and invisible pollutant could deplete the efforts devoted to species conservation.”
Manville, Albert M. “A BRIEFING MEMORANDUM: What We Know, Can Infer, and Don’t Yet Know about Impacts from Thermal and Non-thermal Non-ionizing Radiation to Birds and Other Wildlife.” Wildlife and Habitat Conservation Solutions, 2014.
- “In summary, we need to better understand … how to address these growing and poorly understood radiation impacts to migratory birds, bees, bats, and myriad other wildlife. At present, given industry and agency intransigence … massive amounts of money being spent to prevent addressing impacts from non-thermal radiation — not unlike the battles over tobacco and smoking — and a lack of significant, dedicated and reliable funding to advance independent field studies, … we are left with few options. Currently, other than to proceed using the precautionary approach and keep emissions as low as reasonably achievable, we are at loggerheads in advancing meaningful guidelines, policies and regulations that address non-thermal effects….”
Bees and Butterflies
“Cryptochromes are very badly affected by weak oscillating electromagnetic fields that are orders of magnitude weaker than the Earth’s steady magnetic field. This can disrupt both solar and magnetic navigation, which can account for colony collapse disorder in bees.”
—Dr. Andrew Goldsworthy
Research clearly shows that Bees and Butterflies are sensitive to electromagnetic fields.
Cammaerts, Marie-Claire. “Is electromagnetism one of the causes of the CCD? A work plan for testing this hypothesis.” Journal of Behavior, vol. 2, no. 1, 2017, pp. 1006.
- The decline of domestic bees all over the world is an important problem still not well understood by scientists and beekeepers, and far from being solved. Its reasons are numerous: among others, the use of pesticides and insecticides, the decrease of plant diversity, and bee’s parasites. Besides these threats, there is a potential adverse factor little considered: manmade electromagnetism.
- The present paper suggests two simple experimental protocols for bringing to the fore the potential adverse effect of electromagnetism on bees and to act consequently. The first one is the observation of bees’ avoidance of a wireless apparatus; the second one is the assessment of colonies’ strength and of the intensity of the electromagnetism field (EMF) surrounding them. If bees avoid a wireless apparatus, if hives in bad health are located in EMF of a rather high intensity, it can be presumed that bees are affected by manmade electromagnetism. This should enable searching for palliative measures.
Goldsworthy, Andrew. “The Birds, the Bees and Electromagnetic Pollution: How electromagnetic fields can disrupt both solar and magnetic bee navigation and reduce immunity to disease all in one go.” 2009.
- Many of our birds are disappearing mysteriously from the urban environment and our bees are now under serious threat. There is increasing evidence that at least some of this is due to electromagnetic pollution such as that from cell towers, cell phones, DECT cordless phones and Wifi. It appears capable of interfering with their navigation systems and also their circadian rhythms, which in turn reduces their resistance to disease. The most probable reason is that these animals use a group of magnetically-sensitive substances called cryptochromes for magnetic and solar navigation and also to control the activity of their immune systems.
Guerra, Patrick A., Robert J. Gegear, and Steven M. Reppert. “A magnetic compass aids monarch butterfly migration.” Nature Communications, vol. 5, no. 4164, 2014.
- “Here we use flight simulator studies to show that migrants indeed possess an inclination magnetic compass to help direct their flight equator ward in the fall. Another vulnerability to now consider is the potential disruption of the magnetic compass in monarchs by human-induced electromagnetic noise, which can apparently disrupt geomagnetic orientation in a migratory bird.”
Kumar, Neelima R., Sonika Sangwan, and Pooja Badotra. “Exposure to cell phone radiations produces biochemical changes in worker honey bees.” Toxicol Int., 18, no. 1, 2011, pp. 70–2.
- The present study was carried out to find the effect of cell phone radiations on various biomolecules in the adult workers of Apis mellifera L. The results of the treated adults were analyzed and compared with the control. Radiation from the cell phone influences honey bees’ behavior and physiology. There was reduced motor activity of the worker bees on the comb initially, followed by en masse migration and movement toward “talk mode” cell phone. The initial quiet period was characterized by rise in concentration of biomolecules including proteins, carbohydrates and lipids, perhaps due to stimulation of body mechanism to fight the stressful condition created by the radiations. At later stages of exposure, there was a slight decline in the concentration of biomolecules probably because the body had adapted to the stimulus.
Favre, Daniel. “Mobile phone induced honeybee worker piping.” Apidologie, vol. 42, 2011, pp. 270-9.
- Electromagnetic waves originating from mobile phones had a dramatic impact on the behavior of the bees, namely by inducing the worker piping signal. In natural conditions, worker piping either announces the swarming process of the bee colony or is a signal of a disturbed bee colony.
Warnke, Ulrich. “Birds, Bees and Mankind: Destroying Nature by ‘Electrosmog’.” Competence Initiative for the Protection of Humanity, Environment and Democracy, Brochure 1, 2009.
- Bees pollinate approximately 1/3 of all crops and they are disappearing by the millions. Warnke raises the concern that the dense, energetic mesh of electromagnetic fields from wireless technologies may be the cause.
Sharma, V.P. and N.K. Kumar. “Changes in honeybee behaviour and biology under the influence of cellphone radiations.” Current Science, vol. 98, no 10, 2010, pp. 1376-8.
- We have compared the performance of honeybees in cell phone radiation exposed and unexposed colonies. A significant (p < 0.05) decline in colony strength and in the egg laying rate of the queen was observed. The behaviour of exposed foragers was negatively influenced by the exposure, there was neither honey nor pollen in the colony at the end of the experiment.”